Its purpose, as the Sankei Shimbun article below explains, is to present the current Japanese government's views of history.
This means it is an effort to sanitize the Japanese Administration's denier history narrative and demonization of Korea and China historical views of WWII by presenting the United States as the "good" reconcilier. However, the voices of those who actually fought for historical justice for the American POWs, civilian internees, and comfort women are not included. In fact, one of the speakers actively and destructively aided the Japanese government in delaying justice for the American POWs of Japan--Michael Armacost.
It is unlikely that the POW history of fighting for justice and memory will be represented. It is unlikely that anyone with mention that two current Japanese cabinet member, the deputy prime minister and the education minister, hail from families that owned and ran companies that requested white slaves and used Allied POW slave labor to keep their mines and factories operating during the war. It is unlikely, that anyone will question why there are still documents hidden away in the Japanese government about the POWs. It is unlikely that anyone will bring up that many of Japan's new UNESCO World Industrial Heritage sites were places of horrific working conditions and torture for American and Allied POWs.
Speakers complicit in this effort are: Representative Niki Tsongas (D-MA); Michael H. Armacost, Shorenstein APARC fellow, Stanford University; Gerald L. Curtis, Burgess professor emeritus of political science at Columbia University; Thomas Berger, professor of international relations at the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University; Rohan Mukherjee, assistant professor of political science at Yale-NUS College in Singapore; Keiko Iizuka, editorialist and senior political writer for the Yomiuri Shimbun; Koichi Ai, acting director general at the Japan Institute of International Affairs; Michael R. Auslin, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution; Jennifer Lind, Associate Professor, Department of Government, Dartmouth College; Toshihiro Nakayama, Professor, Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University; Douglas H. Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; James L. Schoff, senior fellow in the Carnegie Asia Program.
Japan International Institute for International Studies Begins to Spread Japan's Viewpoints on History by Initiating its First International Symposium on History and Reconciliation
Sankei Shimbun, November 19, 2017 [Provisional Translation by APP Interns]
The Japan International Institute for International Studies (President and Director General Yoshiji Nogami, Former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs) will hold a number of symposia overseas on the theme of "history and reconciliation.” It is the first time for JIIA, established in 1959, to hold a symposium overseas on this theme. This is an effort to disseminate overseas the arguments of the Japan side based on objective historical research on such issues as territory and comfort women that Japan has [differences] with neighboring countries.
The symposia will be held in Washington DC on November 30th; in Paris next January; and in New Delhi in February. Researchers from Japan and overseas will participate and it is expected that the latest research in Japan and the opinions of researchers from third-party countries will be presented.
In addition to underscoring the differences between regions that experienced the last world war [大戰] and other events where reconciliation has progressed and those regions where it has not, the symposia are expected also to focus discussion on nationalism in each country.
[Note: The Sankei’s text is ambiguous and written badly. The Sankei writer is hinting above that one should “look at Taiwan and the Philippines, etc., who are very cooperative with Japan despite their war experience, and compare them with the Koreans and Chinese who continue to condemn Japan.”]
The Institute held a symposium in Tokyo this October [the 12th, (Japanese only)] that invited history researchers and others from South Korea, India and the U.S. entitled “History and Reconciliation - Thinking from International Comparison.” One participant, Professor Park Yu-ha of Sejong University [not a historian], the author of the book The Empire's Comfort Women, who was charged [and convicted] of defamation against the several former Comfort Women, said, “The background of the comfort women issue as a major problem between Japan and South Korea can be traced to the fact that the ideological conflict between the left and right in South Korea is closely linked to their views of Korean history as related to Japan.” [i.e., Park is saying that the Korean Left is anti-Japanese and the Right is pro-Japanese]
With an unfair “history war” developing abroad, a JIIA official noted, “We hope that these symposia can spread the data [correct historical evidence] that Japan has accumulated so far in order to appeal to the hearts of people in the West and elsewhere.
>Japan Institute of International Affairs caves to right-wing pressure. 2006/2007
The Struggle for the Japanese Soul: Komori Yoshihisa, Sankei Shimbun, and the JIIA controversy By David McNeill, Japan Focus, September 4, 2006.
Softly, Softly: Did the Japan Institute of International Affairs buckle under right-wing pressure? No, says Ambassador Satoh Yukio. Yes, say his critics by David McNeill; Fred Varcoe interviews Amb. Satoh Yukio, Japan Focus, July 3, 2007.
>SYMPOSIUM "HISTORY AND RECONCILIATION－AN INTERNATIONAL COMPARATIVE STUDY"－October 12, 2017 JIIA Symposium in Tokyo
Part I: "Case Studies on Reconciliation" [Video]
Mr. Brahma Chellaney, Professor, Strategic Studies, Center for Policy Research in New Delhi
Ms. Lily Gardner Feldman, Senior Fellow, American Institute for Contemporary German Studies(AICGS), Johns Hopkins
Mr. Fumiaki Kubo, Senior Fellow, American Government and History, Graduate Schools for Law and Politics, University of Tokyo
Mr. Nobukatsu Kanehara, Deputy Secretary General of National Security Secretariat and Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office of Japan
Part II: "What Promotes and Prevents Reconciliation?"
Ms. Yinan He, Associate professor, Department of International Relations, Lehigh University
Ms. Ji Young Kim, Associate Professor, Department of Area Studies, University of Tokyo
Mr. Kazuya Sakamoto, Professor, Department of Law and Political Science, Graduate School of Law and Politics, Osaka University
Mr. Thongchai Winichakul, Emeritus Professor of Southeast Asian History, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Part III: "Reconciliation and Nationalism"
Mr. Yūichi Hosoya, Senior Fellow, Tokyo Foundation, Professor, Faculty of Law, Keio University.
Mr. Lung-chih Chang, Associate Research Fellow and Deputy Director, Institute of Taiwan History
Mr. Daqing Yang, Associate Professor of History and International Affairs, GWU
Ms. Yu-ha Park, Professor, College of Liberal Arts, Sejong University
Mr. Shin Kawashima, Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo